Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleWherefore Commit Ye Evil?
Bible TextJeremiah 44:1-30
Synopsis If there be any who would disobey God’s clearly revealed word then let us ask ourselves, “wherefore commit I this great evil?” Listen
Series Sincere Questions
Article Type Sermon Notes
Audio HI-FI Listen: Wherefore Commit Ye Evil? (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: Wherefore Commit Ye Evil? (128 kbps)
Length 43 min.
Series: Questions 
Title: Wherefore Commit Ye This Great Evil? 
Text: Jeremiah 44: 1-30 
Date: December 29, 2019 
Place: SGBC, NJ 
Every sinner has a responsibility to obey God’s word.  Natural, unregenerate sinners cannot do so.  Still, every sinner is responsible to God to obey.  Inability does not negate responsibility.   
Regenerated sinners are given a new heart and made willing to obey God’s word by Christ’s power through the Holy Spirit.  We are given faith by God and made willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and to love our brethren.  But God saints do not obey perfectly, without sin.  It must be perfect to be accepted of God (Lev 22: 21).  
Therefore, we do not look to our obedience for righteousness or holiness or acceptance with God.  We look to Christ alone.  His is the only perfect obedience to God.  He represented his people.  So we believe on Christ alone, trusting his obedience alone.  And when we need it, God chastens us to keep us partaking of Christ’s holiness.  When we turn from Christ to our brethren and play the Pharisee.  God chastens his child to turn us back to Christ so that Christ alone is the only one who is our Righteousness and Holiness.  The Holy Spirit makes our heart to be that of Mary.  When speaking of the Lord Jesus she said, “Whatsoever he saith to you, do it!”
In this passage, we are beholding a people that disobeyed God's word.  We see what God does to the disobedient who are not his.   And we see how Christ delivers his elect and makes us obedient to trust him.   I pray the Spirit of God would make every believer diligent to obey Christ our Master through this word. 
Jeremiah 44: 1: The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros,…
This was Jeremiah’s last message, preached to Jews who had fled from Jerusalem back to Egypt.  Egypt typifies that from which Christ ransomed his people: idolatry, sin, the bondage of the law, this ungodly world.  God had delivered these Jews from Egypt.  Then God sent a trial.  He sent the king of Babylon to besiege Jerusalem.  Instead of fleeing to God to save, they tried to save themselves by fleeing back into Egypt.  These Jews typify those who profess faith in Christ but who eventually go back into the world, back into their former idolatry, back into sin and bondage from which they professed Christ had redeemed them.  
Our title is God’s question to them,Wherefore Commit Ye This Great Evil?” 
Proposition: If there be any who would disobey God’s clearly revealed word then let us ask ourselves, “wherefore commit I this great evil?” 

Jeremiah 44: 2: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein, 3: Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers. 

Wherefore commit I this great evil when I have seen God’s judgment upon the disobedient?  
Here, God calls disobedience wickedness which provokes God to anger.  Their disobedience was idolatry.  But anything contrary to God’s word is sin and disobedience.  All sin is wickedness to God.  All sin provokes God to anger. 
You and I have seen God’s judgment upon the disobedient in history: from Adam to our day, in God’s word and in our own experience.  God poured out judgment on Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah until they were a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein.
Believer, here is our constraint to obey and continue believing on Christ.  Christ saw and knew God’s judgment upon the disobedient.  He is God.  He saw the desolation and destruction God brings upon the disobedient.  Christ knew it was God his Father’s holy judgment.  Yet our Surety still entered covenant to bear God his Father’s judgment as the Substitute of his people.  The sinless One agreed to bear all the sin and disobedience of his people.  He knew the Father would number him with the transgressors and pour out on him the awesome fury of his wrath.  Still, in love to God and his people, on the cross we see the judgment that God brought upon our Substitute which he bore in his own body on the tree. 
So when I would disobey Christ’s word to me: to rest entirely in Christ, to receive my brethren, to be longsuffering and merciful, to restore my brethren in the spirit of meekness.  Let me ask myself, “Wherefore commit I this great evil when I have seen God’s judgment upon sinners by beholding what Christ, my Substitute, had to bear for me?”
Jeremiah 44: 4: Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate. 5: But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods. 6: Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day. 
Wherefore commit I this great evil when I have seen God’s judgment upon all who reject God’s word? 
Though Israel and Judah disobeyed, God continued to send his servants the prophets.  He did so immediately as soon as they needed correcting, rising early and sending them.  God spoke his word clearly and plainly through the mouth of his prophets, saying “Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate!”  That gives me four good reasons not to disobey God’s clearly revealed word. 
Let me ask myself, Wherefore commit I this great evil, when, one, God bestowed riches upon me in great mercy and grace by sending to me his preacher speaking God’s word, saying, "Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate!”  
Two, let me ask myself, Wherefore commit I this great evil when disobedience to God’s word is itself an “abominable thing?”  
Three, Wherefore commit I this great evil when God’s regard to the sin  of rejecting his word is, “that I hate?”
Four, Wherefore commit I this great evil when God blessed his word giving me spiritual discernment to believe on Christ.  He made me see and know Christ.  God poured forth his fury and anger until natural Israel was wasted and desolate.  But, I was as guilty as they, yet God poured forth grace and mercy upon his elect justifying us freely! 
Jeremiah 44: 7: Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain; 8: In that ye provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye be gone to dwell, that ye might cut yourselves off, and that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? 9: Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10: They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.
Wherefore commit I this great evil when disobedience not only hurts me but also my children? 
When I disobey God’s gospel precepts, my sin is not only against God, it is against my own soul.  God said to them, “Wherefore commit yet this great evil against your souls.”  I hurt myself when I disobey God’s word.  Sin is the cause of everything sorrowful: division, disease, destruction, death.
But not only does my sin hurt me, it hurts my children and their children.  God visits “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Ex 20:5).  That does not mean that God makes children bear punishment for their father’s sins and the father’s bear punishment for the children’s sins—"THE soul that sinneth, IT shall surely die” (Eze 18: 20).  This does not refer to Adam’s sin or Christ’s righteousness because we were actually in Adam and all God’s elect were actually in Christ.  We indeed did what our federal head did.  God imputes righteousness to the believer because in Christ we are Righteous.    When God speaks of visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children it means in our lives when we disobey God, God does not make the children bear punishment for their father’s sins.  God is righteous and the just Judge.  But our sins have a direct bearing upon our wives and children for generations to come.  
Due to the idolatry of their fathers, God cut off the fathers by destroying their city.  That was their punishment.  Therefore, the children and their wives were not in Jerusalem but fled to Egypt.  Their children and their wives became idolaters because that is what the father’s taught them.  The father’s passed to their children the results of their own judgment, as well as taught the children to disobey by idolatry.  Thus, the children and the wives brought God’s judgment on themselves for their own sin. 
If a father robs a store and goes to prison that is God’s punishment of the father.  But his children grow up without a father.  His children have to go to work to support the family.  They have no time for education so they drop out of school.  It is very likely they will end up following their father’s steps.  Do you see how the iniquity of the fathers is visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation?  
Yet, in our text, after all God’s judgment upon them, the fathers nor their wives were humbled in heart, neither the children nor their wives.  None feared God and none obeyed God.  This was a heart problem as it is with all unregenerate sinners. 
Believer, here is how we are made obedient.  Our Father, our Everlasting Father, the last Adam, Christ Jesus lived before God as our representative with a holy, humble heart fearing God.   He committed righteous obedience to God by bearing our sin, curse, and reproach.  The judgment that God poured out on Judah in verses 11-14, God poured out on Christ in place of his elect.  God set his face against him instead of us.  God turned his sword of justice on his own Son instead of his elect.  Therefore, God says what Christ did we did!  When he was cut off for sin, “every elect man, woman, child and suckling” was “cut off and none remained”.  Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ.”  God is not reckoning me dead when I really did not die to sin.  In Christ, “I died!”  Not only that, Christ came and gave me a new nature by abiding in me. 
When I am tempted to disobey Christ’s word, let me ask myself, “Wherefore commit I this great evil when I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live?  Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me!”
Jeremiah 44: 16: As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. 17: But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. 18: But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. 19: AND [furthermore] when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men? 
Wherefore commit I this great evil when Christ has saved me from the bondage of my sin-nature and continues to do so. 
The wives heard Jeremiah indict them in the charge to their husbands.  They stood all they could stand.  As every unregenerate sinner is, they were proud, arrogant, stiff-necked womenTherefore, they looked God’s prophet straight in the eye and justified themselves.  These women justified themselves while at the same time they threw their husbands under the bus for their idolatry.  That is the arrogant, proud heart we had while dead in trespasses and in sins.  
Sadly, as believers, when we disobey Christ’s clear commands, we are saying the same thing to him!  We praise our idols for providing for us: our cleverness, our business acumen, our professions, our children, our riches.  But like Hosea put bread and oil, wool and flax at Gomer’s door, it is Christ who has always provided for us and continues to do so.
Christ is a faithful husband to his bride and a loving father to his children to whom his family is in subjection.  He raised us up under the preaching of the gospel and saw to it that we heard in truth.  Christ prayed for us that the Father would send the Holy Spirit and the Father did just that giving us new birth, a new heart and a new standing before God.  He put fear in our heart and through faith in Christ, clothed us in his righteousness.  Christ feeds us the bread from heaven and enriches us with his unsearchable riches.  He provides us with all our needs temporally, too.  And as we need it, he continues to correct us through the preaching of the word. 
If he had done that to these women through Jeremiah’s preaching they would have loved Christ and Jeremiah, too!  The man God used to preach Christ to me could do no wrong in my eyes!  Oh, he was a sinner but to me he walked on water.  If he needed help, I was there for him!  God puts his love in our hearts both for Christ and for those God used to preach the good news to us. 
Now, when he chastens us, we say the same thing as these women.  But instead of speaking evil of our Husband, we praise our Husband when he gives us the ability to worship him as we ought, “Was not Christ our Husband with us!”  God told those unregenerate sinners, “Did not the LORD remember [your idolatry] and came it not into his mind?”  But for Christ’s sake, he says to you believer, “I remember your sins no more.”  Since they had sworn to keep their vows to their idol God, said,  in verse 26, “Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.” But in Christ God says to his saints, “because I could swear by no greater, I sware by himself, saying, “Surely, blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.”   Due to their sins, God promised in verse 27, “Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: [till they be consumed].”  Due to Christ, God says to us, “I will watch over them for good and not for evil, till they be with me in glory.”
God gave them a sign to know that God’s words shall surely stand against them for evil.  Down in Egypt where they thought they would be safe, Pharaoh would be taken captive by the king of Babylon, the same as Zedekiah king of Judah.  But God has given us a sign too.  God has given every believer “assurance in that he has raised Christ from the dead” and he has given the Holy Spirit “which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Believer, Christ has delivered his people from Egypt.  Believe on him and as Mary said, “Whatsoever he saith to you, do it!”